It's here! The hotly anticipated Canon 5D Mark III will introduce a new 22.3 megapixel CMOS sensor with a host of updates to the imaging pipeline thanks to a DIGIC 5+ processor and improvements to the AF system trickled down from the 1D X.
5D Mark III: Hardware
The 5D III gets a 3.2-inch 1,040,000-dot LCD and a locking mode dial like the 60D's. Some of the controls have been shifted around the camera's back panel, and an image rating button has been added. Photos can be rated from 0 to 5 stars, and the information will be carried through to post-processing in Photoshop. The 5D III will have a 100% coverage viewfinder with 0.71x magnification and a 22mm eyepoint. A dual-axis electronic level is available for viewing using the LCD or OVF. It's also equipped with a 150,000 cycle shutter and dual SD/CF card slots.
Significant Updates to Sensor, Metering, Processor
A Canon-engineered full frame 22.3 megapixel CMOS sensor graces the 5D Mark III, complete with 8-channel readout, a native ISO range of 100-25,600 (expandable up to 102,400) and a new chip architecture using gapless microlenses at each photosite. Canon claims new transistors within the chip itself will provide better noise reduction to both JPEG and RAW shooters, and also promises reduction in moiré.
The Canon 1D X's powerful 61-point auto focus system and AI Servo III algorithm are carried down to the 5D III, a major jump from the 5D II's 9 point system. Of those 61 points, 21 are cross-type effective to an f/5.6 aperture and 5 are diagonal cross-type points. AF functions are now available via a designated AF menu tab. The 5D Mark II's 35-zone metering system has been upgraded to a 63-zone sensor that utilizes color and focus information to determine proper exposure. Many features have been added to the 5D III that were not available to 5D II shooters. Most of those are thanks to a new, faster DIGIC 5+ processor, including up to 6 fps burst shooting.
Not surprisingly, great care has been taken in developing the 5D Mark III's movie capabilities. Full 1080 video is available at 24p, 25p and 30p. This time, 720p video is available at 60 and 50p; VGA is available at 30p and 25p. Two flavors of H.264 compression are available: ALL-I intraframe compression and IPB interframe. Timecode embedding is available, and both headphone and microphone jacks are available for monitoring and recording audio.
Bonus Round: Accessories
Introduced with the 5D III is a new WFT-E7A wireless transmitter with 802.11 a/b/g/n support. A new GP-E2 GPS receiver able to log latitude, longitude, elevation and Universal Time Code. A built-in compass will keep tabs on which direction you're shooting, even when the camera is used an the vertical position. A new BG-E11 battery grip is offered, powered by either six AA's or two LP-E6 rechargeable batteries.
A new Speedlite 600EX-RT is introduced alongside the 5D Mark III. It has an integrated wireless transmitter with two-way Master-Slave communication. Also offered is a new ST-E3-RT Wireless Speedlite Transmitter. It will control up to five groups of flash units from a distance of up to 98.4 feet from the camera.
Pricing and Availability The Canon EOS 5D Mark III will be sold, body-only, for $3499 and is expected to ship at the end of March. Bundled with an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens for $4299. On the accessory side, the WFT-E7A wireless transmitter and GP-E2 GPS receiver will ship in April for $849.99 and $390, respectively. The Speedlite 600EX-RT and Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT will be available in late March for $629.99 and $470 respectively. Look for the BG-E11 battery grip at the end of April for $470.